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William Henry Harrison

A song during William Henry Harrison’s presidential campaign
against incumbent Martin Van Buren:

What has caused this great commotion, motion,
…….Our country through?
…….It is the ball a-rolling on,
For Tippecanoe and Tyler too, Tippecanoe and Tyler too.
And with them we’ll beat little Van, Van, Van;
…….Van is a used-up man.

 

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I loathe, abhor, detest, despise,
Abominate dried-apple pies.
I like good bread, I like good meat,
Or anything that’s fit to eat;
But of all poor grub beneath the skies,
The poorest is dried apple pies.
Give me the toothache, or sore eyes,
But don’t give me dried apple pies.
The farmer takes his gnarliest fruit,
‘Tis wormy, bitter, and hard, to boot;
He leaves the hulls to make us cough,
And don’t take half the peeling off.
Then on a dirty cord ’tis strung
And in a garret window hung,
And there it serves as roost for flies,
Until it’s made up into pies.
Tread on my corns, or tell me lies,
But don’t pass me dried-apple pies.

 

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My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And, pointing to the East, began to say:

“Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

“And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

“For, when our souls have learned the heat to bear,
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
Saying, ‘Come out from the grove, my love and care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'”

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,
And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black, and he from white cloud free,
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him, and he will then love me.

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Links to analysis:

http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/blake/section4.rhtml

http://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-little-black-boy

http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/william-blake/songs-innocence-and-experience/songs-innocence-little-black-boy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Black_Boy 

https://poemanalysis.com/the-little-black-boy-by-william-blake-poem-analysis/

 

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She has laughed as softly as if she sighed,
She has counted six and over,
Of a purse well filled, and a heart well tried –
Oh each a worthy lover!
They “give her time”; for her soul must slip
Where the world has set the grooving:
She will lie to none with her fair red lip –
But love seeks truer loving.

She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,
As her thoughts were beyond recalling,
With a glance for one, and a glance for some,
For her eyelids rising and falling;
Speaks common words with a blushful air,
Hears bold words, unreproving
But her silence says – what she never will swear –
And love seeks better loving.

Go, lady, lean to the night-guitar,
And drop a smile to the bringer,
Then smile as sweetly, when he is far,
At the voice of an indoor singer.
Bask tenderly beneath tender eyes;
Glance lightly on their removing;
And join new vows to old perjuries –
But dare not call it loving.

Unless you can think, when the song is done,
No other is soft in the rhythm;
Unless you can feel, when left by one,
That all men else go with him;
Unless you can know, when unpraised by his breath,
That your beauty itself wants proving;
Unless you can swear, “For life, for death!” –
Oh fear to call it loving!

Unless you can muse in a crowd all day,
On the absent face that fixed you;
Unless you can love, as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
Through behoving and unbehoving;
Unless you can die when the dream is past –
Oh never call it loving!

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The Great Jehovah speaks to us,
In Genesis and Exodus,
Leviticus and Numbers see,
Followed by Deuteronomy,
Joshua and Judges sway the land,
Ruth gleans a sheaf with trembling hand,
Samuel and numerous Kings appear,
Whose Chronicles we wondering hear;
Ezra and Nehemiah now
Esther the beauteous mourner show;
Job speaks in sighs, David in Psalms,
The Proverbs teach to scatter alms.
Ecclesiastes then comes on,
And the sweet song of Solomon.
Isaiah, Jeremiah then
With Lamentations takes his pen.
Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea’s lyres
Swell Joel, Amos, Obadiah’s.
Next Jonah, Micah, Nahum come,
And lofty Habakkuk finds room,
Rapt Zephaniah, Haggai calls,
While Zechariah builds the walls;
And Malachi, with garments rent,
Concludes the ancient Testament.

 

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A horse can’t pull while kicking.
This fact I merely mention.
And he can’t kick while pulling,
Which is my chief contention. 

Let’s imitate the good old horse
And lead a life that’s fitting;
Just pull an honest load, and then
There’ll be no time for kicking.

 

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Are you almost disgusted with life, little man?
I’ll tell you a wonderful trick
That will bring you contentment, if anything can,
Do something for somebody, quick! 

Are you awfully tired with play, little girl?
Wearied, discouraged, and sick –
I’ll tell you the loveliest game in the world,
Do something for somebody, quick! 

Though it rains, like the rain of the flood, little man,
And the clouds are forbidding and thick,
You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man,
Do something for somebody, quick! 

Though the stars are like brass overhead, little girl,
And the walks like a well-heated brick,
And our earthly affairs in a terrible whirl,
Do something for somebody, quick!

 

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When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must – but don’t you quit. 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You might succeed with another blow. 

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt –
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

 

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The sons of the prophet are brave men and bold,
And quite unaccustomed to fear, –
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah
Was Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir. 

If you wanted a man to encourage the van
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
For Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir. 

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

He could imitate Irving, play poker and pool,
And strum on the Spanish guitar,
In fact quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

One day this bold Russian had shouldered his gun,
And donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go, where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir. 

“Young man,” quoth Abdul, “has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel, know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir. 

“So take your last look at sunshine and brook,
And send your regrets to the Czar –
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar!” 

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk,
With a cry of “Allah Akbar,”
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

They parried and thrust, they sidestepped and cussed,
Of blood they spilled a great part;
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on that spot. 

They fought all that night, ‘neath the pale yellow moon,
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar. 

As Abdul’s long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, “Huzzah,”
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir. 

Czar Petrovitch too, in his spectacles blue,
Rode up in his new-crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line,
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

There’s a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
And ‘graved there in characters clear,
Are, “Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul A-bul-bul A-Mir.

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night,
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. 

A Muscovite maiden her love vigil keeps,
‘Neath the light of the pale polar star,
And the name that she murmurs so oft as she weeps
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

 

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When the curtains of night are pinned back by the stars,
And the beautiful moon leaps the skies,
And the dewdrops of heaven are kissing the rose,
It is then that my memory flies 

As if on the wings of some beautiful dove
In haste with the message it bears
To bring you a kiss of affection and say:
I’ll remember you, love, in my prayers.
 

Go where you will, on land or on sea,
I’ll share all your sorrows and cares;
And at night, when I kneel by my bedside to pray
I’ll remember you, love, in my prayers. 

I have loved you too fondly to ever forget
The love you have spoken to me;
And the kiss of affection still warm on my lips
When you told me how true you would be. 

I know not if fortune be fickle or friend,
Or if time on your memory wears;
I know that I love you wherever you roam,
And remember you, love, in my prayers. 

When angels in heaven are guarding the good,
As God has ordained them to do,
In answer to prayers I have offered to Him,
I know there is one watching you. 

And may its bright spirit be with you through life
To guide you up heaven’s bright stairs,
And meet with the one who has loved you so true
And remembered you, love, in her prayers.

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Sung by Ann Breen (2:22)

 

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